This NBA season is probably the most difficult one in history.
Covid protocols have hurt teams trying to find their rhythm and chemistry earlier in the season.
Players entered the season not fully prepared due to the quick turnaround from one season to the next.
Coaches needed to find ways to combat every obstacle thrown at them.
It is already a difficult job having to manage players’ personalities, while trying to put your team in the best position possible to win.
There are five coaches who have excelled this year, despite the unforeseen circumstances this season has brought.
Coach #5: Nate McMillan
This pick may be a controversial one due to Nate McMillan only being the Hawks’ head coach for 17 games, but his impact has been felt tremendously.
He was named the interim coach on March 1st and the Hawks have not looked back.
Their defense post the all-star break has been great; especially for a team with a lack of lockdown defenders.
Atlanta allowed the NBA’s second-fewest points per game in March at 105.7.
Join us in congratulating Interim Head Coach Nate McMillan on winning Eastern Conference Coach of the Month 🙌
— Atlanta Hawks (@ATLHawks) April 1, 2021
Also, they owned the East’s third-lowest FG percentage at 45%.
Under former head coach, Lloyd Pierce, the team was middle of the road on the outside of the playoff picture in the Eastern Conference.
Now with McMillan in charge, the team is currently positioned as the fourth seed in the East.
Their play of late has all to do with the insertion of Nate McMillan and his great coaching.
Coach #4: Tom Thibodeau
The savior of the New York Knicks might end up being Coach Thibs when it is all said and done.
After flaming towards the end of his Minnesota Timberwolves tenure; it looked like the game was passing by the old school, tough coach.
A few years passed and the Knicks gave him a chance to steer a sinking ship.
Well, Coach Thibs has gotten the ship above water for the first time since 2013.
The New York Knicks are a good basketball team. Yes, that’s right. The Knicks under Tom Thibodeau are good.
It’s time to accept it.https://t.co/uoT9MyTaTv
— The Athletic (@TheAthletic) March 6, 2021
They are currently positioned as the seventh seed, which is a drastic improvement from the previous season as one of the worst teams in the league.
The one thing that is synonymous with Thibs and that is defense.
The Knicks hold the number one spot in both opponent PPG and opponent FG%.
That is a big jump from 17th and 16th the previous season.
Coach #3: Quinn Snyder
Quinn Snyder has gotten his team to rebound from their epic collapse in the playoffs last season and obtain the best record in the NBA this year.
The Jazz have been dominate throughout the season on both ends of the court.
They own the best point differential by almost three full points from the second ranked team.
This team over the last couple of years have been known as a defensive team led by their perennial Defensive Player of the Year, Rudy Gobert.
They maintain a piece of that identity ranking in the top three in opponent PPG and FG%.
However, their offense has taken a leap.
The Jazz lead the league in three-pointers per game at 17, which is an increase from 13.6 PPG last season.
With 26 threes tonight, the @utahjazz have now hit 25+ threes 4 times this season.
The 2018-19 Houston Rockets are the only other team to accomplish this in NBA history. pic.twitter.com/BVUTuUJ8sC
— NBA.com/Stats (@nbastats) April 4, 2021
That is a big difference for a team trying to make that leap to a title contender.
Not only do they make the most threes, but they shoot them at the second-best rate in the league.
They were ranked first last season in three-point percentage, which shows that Coach Snyder needed to adapt their game and take off.
Coach #2: Doc Rivers
Doc Rivers has the Sixers at where everyone has expected for the past three seasons.
Shake Milton praises Doc Rivers & his @sixers coaching staff:
"[Doc] doesn’t really care who you are – he’s going to coach you the way he coaches you.
If you can just buckle down, and lock in it, he's going to lead us to success. And that's what you're seeing."
— Lauren Rosen (@LaurenMRosen) April 6, 2021
We have seen the talent to be a title team, but the coaching was always an issue.
Brett Brown did not know how to utilize this roster to the best of their abilities.
Now with Doc at the helm, the Sixers look dangerous.
Ben Simmons is a legit Defensive Player of the Year candidate.
Tobias Harris looks like an all-star again under Doc.
Joel Embiid was the MVP frontrunner before his injury, but might regain that spot by the end of the season.
Simple fixes were made with how the Sixers should play, but the way Doc inspires his teams are shown through his work with the Sixers so far.
Coach #1: Monty Williams
The Phoenix Suns are going to be a playoff team this year for the first time since 2010.
They are not some pesky seventh or eighth seed.
Instead, they are playing great basketball, while grabbing the second seed in the Western Conference.
“Everything we want is on the other side of hard.” – Monty Williams
Western Conference Coach of the Month!
Congrats, Coach! pic.twitter.com/fj4PdTT2OD
— Phoenix Suns (@Suns) April 1, 2021
We saw the potential of Monty Williams and his team during their time in the bubble last season, going undefeated.
They just barely missed out on a playoff spot, but have taken that momentum to drive them up the standings.
The addition of Chris Paul has helped put the coach’s vision on the court, as Paul is a coach himself with how he plays.
The Suns have a great scorer in Devin Booker, but their defense has improved the most.
They are a top nine defense this year; after being a mediocre defensive team for years.
Coach Monty Willams has this team playing the best basketball in over a decade, which is why he is the frontrunner for Coach of the Year.